Oklahoma Is Seventh State to Enact Enhanced NLC


The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) that many travel nurses know and love is getting an upgrade--and may be changing the map for compact nursing states in the future.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) announced that Oklahoma has become the seventh state to enact the enhanced NLC, joining Florida, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming as a member. The House Bill 2482 was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin on April 26, 2016. Oklahoma is not one of the 25 states that currently participates in the NLC.

As of May 13, 2016, another eight states have legislation pending to enact the enhanced NLC legislation, and the NCSBN notes that nurses’ current multistate licenses will remain in effect while states make a determination to move forward with the enhanced NLC legislation.

RELATED:  The Current List of Compact Nursing States

What is the enhanced NLC?

Allowing nurses to have mobility across state borders, the enhanced NLC increases access to care while maintaining public protection. The enhanced NLC, which is an updated version of the current NLC, allows for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs) to have one multistate license, with the ability to practice in both their home state and other nursing compact states.

The enhanced NLC will come into effect either when the first 26 states pass the enhanced NLC legislation or on Dec. 31, 2018, whichever comes first. All states, including those participating in the existing Nurse Licensure Compact, must introduce legislation in the coming years to enter into the enhanced NLC.

Susan Jones, PhD, APRN-CNS, Oklahoma Board of Nursing President notes, “Participation in multistate licensure is something that Oklahoma nurses have been asking about for quite some time, and with the language in the enhanced compact they will have the opportunity. It is exciting to have been able to work with the Oklahoma Board of Nursing staff and leadership and our state legislature to ensure that the safety needs of patients and the practice flexibility of nurses will be soon be available in Oklahoma.”

The new features found in the provisions of enhanced NLC legislation were developed to support patient safety, while streamlining processes for nurses and state boards alike. Licensing standards are aligned in enhanced NLC states so all nurses applying for a multistate license are required to meet the same standards, which include a federal and state criminal background check.

Rep. Pat Ownbey commented, "This legislation is a giant step forward for Oklahoma's health care system. The new law will allow nurses practicing in and out of our state the flexibility in moving to where the greatest health needs exist while keeping patient safety intact. I'm certainly proud to be a part of this effort."

The enhanced NLC enables nurses to provide telehealth nursing services to patients located across the country without having to obtain additional licenses. In the event of a disaster, nurses from multiple states can easily respond to supply vital services. Additionally, almost every nurse, including primary care nurses, case managers, transport nurses, school and hospice nurses, among many others, needs to routinely cross state boundaries to provide the public with access to nursing services, and a multistate license facilitates this process.

The NLC also simplifies placements for travel nurses who cross state borders for temporary assignments.

"It is great to play a part in moving health care forward in Oklahoma,” said Sen. Frank Simpson. “This legislation will give nurses across Oklahoma more opportunities to cross borders without barriers. As a senator from a border district, this provides our hospitals the ability to be more competitive in the nursing field."

Boards of nursing (BONs) were the first health care provider regulatory bodies to develop a model for interstate practice with the original adoption of the NLC in 1997 and its implementation in 2000.

To learn more about the NLC, view “The Nurse Licensure Compact Explained.” Additional information can be found at

Source: National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)

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